A revision joint replacement means that surgery must be done to replace a worn-out joint replacement. Also called revision arthroplasty.

Why it's done?

Reasons a revision joint replacement may need to be performed include:

  • Worn-out implants: Over time joint replacement implants will eventually wear out. While developments in joint replacement materials are intended to make these implants last longer, they will eventually wear out. Most surgeons recommend patients avoid certain impact sports after joint replacement in an effort to ensure the implants last as long as possible.
  • Infection of a replaced joint: Infection is a serious complication of joint replacement surgery and often requires additional surgery. When the infection is found soon after the initial surgery (within weeks or months of the initial joint replacement) sometimes a revision replacement can be avoided. However, if the infection occurs more than 6 weeks after surgery, it typically requires a revision joint replacement, sometimes multiple operations, to cure the infection.
  • Instability of implants: All types of joint replacements are susceptible to instability—the implants not holding in the proper position, or dislocating completely from their normal position. In the case of hip replacement surgery, hip dislocation is a possible complication. Revision joint replacement can use specialized implants to help improve the stability of the joint.